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Middle East and North Africa

Following years of turmoil, some economies in the Middle East and North Africa appear to be stabilizing, although growth remains fragile and uneven. Growth in oil-importing countries was broadly flat in 2014, while activity in oil-exporting countries recovered slightly after contracting in 2013. Fiscal and external imbalances remain significant. Growth is expected to pick up gradually to 3.5 percent in 2017. Risks from regional turmoil and from the volatile price of oil are considerable; political transitions and security challenges persist. Measures to address long-standing structural challenges have been repeatedly delayed and high unemployment remains a key challenge. Lower oil prices offer an opportunity to remove the region’s heavy energy subsidies both in oil-importing and oil-exporting countries alike. 

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